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Tips for Designing the Perfect Tap Handle

Posted by Boelter Beverage on September 20, 2017

There are so many options today for making tap handles that are out of this world! However, don't fall into the Tap Handle Trap.

What's that? Well, I’m glad you asked.

The Tap Handle Trap is when a brewery focuses too much on how awesome they can make their handles without considering consumer behavior and a marketing strategy. After all, even if your design includes a giant gorilla climbing up a glow in the dark skyscraper carrying a rotating disco ball that plays Saturday Night Fever songs and shoots confetti every time the bartender draws, it's nothing more than a novelty item without a tie-in to your beer style and brand. Here are five tips to help you start planning:

  1. Make the beer style clear

    During popular beer-drinking times of the day, bar areas and restaurants are fast paced. As a result, customers feel more under pressure to get their orders in quickly, which means they are not going to be taking the time to ask their server the styles of beer each tap handle offers. Displaying your brand's beer style loud and proud on the side of the handle will quickly answer that question for both the bartender and bar customers, and will make everyone more likely to give it a try. 

  2. Stay consistent with your brand across beer styles

    For those of you with multiple beer styles on tap at the same restaurants and bars, it's important to maintain some consistency across your brand. Otherwise, customers will have a harder time connecting your beer to your brewery, which could hurt their recognition of your name in the long run. Plus, consistent handles make it fast and easy to show off your beer!

    Boelter's Chrislan Custom Tap Handles
  3. Make your tap handle legible from multiple angles and a distance

    Imagine sitting at a restaurant. Your server is asking if you would like anything to drink. You look down at the beer list and, at a glance, nothing stands out. Then you look up toward the bar at the array of tap handles. Which one stands out? The one that you can read from a distance! Customers will not always be looking at your tap handle up close, so it's important to make the beer style and your brand viewable from multiple angles and from far away.

  4. Use contrasting colors between glaze and art

    A good way to make your beer style and brand stand out from a distance is to use contrasting colors. For example, a white glazed tap handle with black typography will be much easier to read than a dark blue glazed tap handle with black typography. Use whatever colors fit your brand best, but make sure they are different enough for the darker mood lighting of a restaurant or bar. Going along with this, using a clean design can also make your brand stand out. After all, less is sometimes more.

  5. Choose a custom tap handle shape that's recognizable and unique to you

    Of course, what's written on the tap handle is only half the battle. You also don't want your handles to look like all the others at the bar. Creating a custom tap handle that fits your brand's story is a fantastic way to make your brewery stand out. Keep in mind that tap handles are spaced 3" apart at the bar when considering how to design your handle. That means the max width we can make a handle is 2.625".

With a unique shape, contrasting colors and a visible beer style and brand, your tap handle is already surpassing the competition and ensuring your brand gets the attention it deserves. 


Learn everything there is to know about tap handles from design and dimensions to materials and processes.

Topics: Tap Handles, Events

Boelter Beverage

Boelter Beverage

Brewing, Distilling, Vinification—We Serve Your Craft! At Boelter Beverage, we know that what you do encompasses so much more than a beverage. Every day you pour your heart into creating the beer, spirit, wine everyone loves, and every day you’re building a personality, a philosophy, and a culture. As the craft brewing, distilling, and wine industries have grown, we have focused our attention and expertise on mastering what it means to serve your craft. Since 1970, we have been invested in your product, your mission, and your story. We are here to help you sell it and tell it.